Bryan Altman, CBS Local Sports
By now we’re all familiar with Malcolm Butler, the man who picked off Russell Wilson on the goal line in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLIX and sealed the deal for Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the entire New England region. Even though he is now cemented in sports history for eternity, reaching this moment didn’t come easy for Butler.
Here are five things about the man behind the interception that you might not be aware of:
1. Butler was kicked out of Hinds Community College in Mississippi during his freshman year:
Butler’s is a true rags to riches story. According to the Providence Journal, Butler was booted from Hinds after playing only five games for the school for undisclosed reasons. After returning to the school in 2011 for one more season, Butler moved on to Division II school West Alabama. It was there that he caught the eye of the New England Patriots and he was signed by the team on May 19 of last year as an undrafted free agent.
Elias: Malcolm Butler is 1st undrafted rookie ever to make interception in Super Bowl sports.espn.go.com/espn/elias—
ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 02, 2015
2. After being kicked out of school, Butler worked at a Popeye’s:
Humbled after being kicked out of Hinds Community College, Butler began the long road to Super Bowl hero by working at a Popeye’s, an experience that he described to the Providence Journal as “life-changing.”
3. Jets’ offensive coordinator Chan Gailey recommended Butler to the Patriots:
West Alabama’s head coach Brett Gilliland told USA TODAY Sports that after Gailey coached Butler in the Medal of Honor Bowl in 2013, he offered to help Butler and recommended him to the Patriots. Why the Patriots you ask? Gailey suggested that the Patriots would give Butler a fair chance regardless of his background.
Jets fans can probably look at this in two different ways. On one hand, Gailey clearly has an eye for game-changing talent. On the other hand, Gailey might be the underlying reason why New England won yet another Super Bowl, not exactly something Jets fans will be applauding any time soon.
4. Butler is also a weapon on special teams:
We’ve all seen what Butler can do at the cornerback position, but in college Butler was a weapon when it came to special teams play as well. In 2013 while playing for West Alabama Butler averaged 27.9 yards on his kickoff returns and he also blocked a field goal.
5. Butler will soon be the owner of a brand new Chevy Colorado:
While Butler didn’t win the Super Bowl MVP award that accompanies the Chevy Colorado, Butler will soon be the trucks’ new owner if Tom Brady has his way. Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady has stated that he would “love to” give the truck to Butler, assuming he can find his way around the legal and corporate obstacles that might be in the way. Either way, there’s no doubt that Brady will take care of Butler after Butler took care of Brady and the rest of the Patriots when it mattered most.